Reviewing our progress so far...
In Auckland I have the opportunity to share my love of meditation with many people who come to our free meditation classes year-long. I'm grateful for this opportunity – I meet so many nice people seeking a deeper meaning and purpose in their lives, who have open minds and hearts and a willingness to explore a new and inner world. We share the same impulse to search for happiness, enlightment, God, through the inner journey and consciously or unconsciously the growing understanding that worldly pursuits and achievements will not finally fulfill us – they can be enjoyed, yes, but these fruits alone can not fully satisfy our hunger.
Because the growth of our spiritual life is not always as rapid as we might wish – the fruit grows only slowly and steadily on the tree, no matter how often we water the roots – we become discouraged by our progress and sometimes allow our practice to lapse. Many spiritual philosophies embrace the notion of reincarnation – the immortal soul slowly matures to it's fullest potential over many lifetimes, like a central character reappearing in the many chapters of a book. In this context of the soul's long evolution through time, the few months of patiently developing a strong foundation in our meditation practice are like a second in a day and represent not slow but very fast progress.
One description of the great spans of time experienced by the soul is found in one of the old classics from India. Imagine, it says, a large lake to which every 5,000 years a white bird flys and takes away a single drop of water in it's beak. The length of time it takes the bird to empty the lake is an illustration of how long it takes the soul to cover the distance from its very beginnings to journeys end in self-realisation! Fortunately this is not meant to be taken literally! The text reassuringly goes on to say that for those who are beginning to meditate, who have an interest in spirituality, the lake is almost empty and the long journey through time is almost over.
Whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter – but these ideas and beliefs stretch the mind a little and prepare us for bigger truths and realities that lie beyond the horizon of todays comprehension. And they encourage us to persevere – we are closer to our goals than we know! They imbue us with a warrior spirit, the courage to confront our blemishes and shortcomings and to conquer them, and never to give up. 'The soul is not won by the weakling' proclaims the same Indian text that describes the bird in the lake.
Sri Chinmoy is always hugely encouraging – "Please do not be disturbed if you cannot meditate well in the beginning. Even in the ordinary life, God alone knows how many years one must practice in order to become very good at something."
"Today you may eat delicious food, and then for three or four days you may eat very simple food. But as long as you are eating, you know that you are sustaining your body. Similarly, if you have a good meditation one day, and the following day you find that you are not able to meditate well, do not become frustrated, do not feel miserable even for a moment. If one day you cannot meditate well, feel that some other day the Supreme will again give you the blessing, inspiration and aspiration to meditate extremely well. Then definitely you will continue to make progress in your meditation and in your inner life."
"At the beginning you have to make a personal effort; later it becomes spontaneous. Unless and until it becomes spontaneous, you have to make the personal effort. It is like sailing a boat. Before you start you move this thing and adjust that thing. You have to do all kinds of things at the beginning. While you are getting ready, you are very dynamic. But that is only your preparation. It is only when you are actually well on your way that the boat can sail without your constant personal effort. In your meditation this spontaneous movement is an act of Grace from above."
"When a child is learning to walk, in the beginning he stumbles and falls again and again. But after a while he learns to walk properly, and finally to run. Someday you will be able to walk, then run, and finally run the fastest without falling."
"Gradually your capacity will increase. Yet, right from the very first day, you will feel the benefits of meditation. When we drink even a drop of water from the earthly sea, it tastes salty. In the same way, during our meditation, if we can drink even a tiny drop from the sea of peace, we shall definitely experience inner peace in our lives."
Next: Learn to Meditate – Step 5.
Return To: Meditation Course – Learn to Meditate Online Index Page.